Canadiens Game Day: Emelin sits as Beaulieu returns to blue line vs. Senators

MONTREAL, QUE.: DECEMBER  20, 2016 -- Montreal Canadiens Alexei Emelin follows through on a shot during third period of National Hockey League game against the Anaheim Ducks in Montreal Tuesday December 20, 2016. (John Mahoney / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 57816 - 2686

Pat Hickey

Montreal Gazette

Defenceman Alexei Emelin will be a healthy scratch when the Canadiens meet the Ottawa Senators Saturday (7 p.m., Sportsnet, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio) but coach Claude Julien insists the Russian isn’t paying the price for his spotty play of late.

“Emmy is the extra guy tonight and I know he’s not having the easiest of times, but we need him,” Julien said after an optional morning skate Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre. “He’s a good defenceman and I like him, but we’re rotating now and that rotation has to continue. We have to keep guys moving in and out, and that’s why we acquired the depth at the trading deadline.”

The change means Nathan Beaulieu is back in the lineup after one game as a healthy scratch. He’ll be paired with Jordie Benn.

This is the first of back-to-back games between these teams, which will play at the Bell Centre Sunday (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet, RDS, TSN 690 Radio) and the games will determine first place in the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens are one point up on Ottawa, but the Senators hold a game in hand.

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“When you listen to the fans and you get the feel of your team and the people surrounding it, it’s an exciting weekend,” said Julien. “There’s no doubt we all know first place is in play but also when you play back-to-back at any time of the year, there’s always something that follows to the next game. It seems like a mini (playoff) series but, at this stage of the year, there’s a little more at stake.”

That little bit more at stake probably influenced Julien’s choice of goaltenders for the game in Ottawa. The Canadiens split the goaltending duties in back-to-back situations and Al Montoya plays on the road. Carey Price starts Saturday and the smart money says he’ll play Sunday as well.

Former Canadiens backup Mike Condon was pencilled in as the Senators’ starter, but Ottawa coach Guy Boucher left the door open for Craig Anderson, who is healthy after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

The Canadiens haven’t played since losing 4-2 to Chicago on Tuesday and Julien said it was good to have a day of rest and two good practices leading up to the weekend.

“We were coming off a 10-day road trip and we were glad to get a bit of a break,” said Julien.

There’s more good news in the schedule coming up. Sunday’s rematch is the start of a six-game homestand.

Photo: John Mahoney/Montreal Gazette


  1. StanleyHab says:

    Chuck Berry is dead. Long live rock ‘n’ roll!!!

  2. Don Birnam says:

    Erin Go Bragh!
    Slainte from Montreal!
    Kick arse Habs!

  3. Danno says:

    Whatever happened to Capsl ock Dan?

    And why does his name get filtered out when typed correctly?



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  4. New says:

    Hope the boys have a great two games.

    The better half only follows the Pens and I always tease her to relax, wait, the Pens and Sid will be there. Now she teases me back that Ottawa could be 3 points up Monday and asks if third place would be by wins or if Boston would not be able to overtake them both soon? Arrgh!

    We settled on 3 points each from 2 overtime games 🙂 A win and OTL each.

    Glad to see Emelin’s not playing. Hard to wager who will win when Emelin plays.

  5. SteverenO says:

    One of the biggest reasons why The HABS NEVER played up to their potential (except for brief periods) when Therrien was coach, was due to his inability to play the “right”players in the right combinations at the “right” time .

    Julien is clearly a better coach than Therrien in many areas EXCEPT one. The teams seems to be playing a better style , adjusts to their opposition better, and seems to have more situational awareness under the new coaching regime.

    Unfortunately, Julien seems to be just as lost as was his predecessor when it comes to personnel deployment.

    To disregard the value that Beaulieu offers on the special teams this season, and NOT play him with Weber on the PP, then utilize Benn (one of the worst on the penalty killers in the NHL this season, (over Beaulieu (one of the best penalty killers in the NHL this season) is , frankly, unacceptable.

    By these moves and continuing playing Danault for so long on the PP and by reducing Beaulieu’s even strength time Julien has proven that he is not very adept at personnel deployment.

    It would be great, and probably way more exciting, to see how our team would perform if they properly deployed the right players at the right time.

    Best regards,

    Steve O.

  6. kalevine says:

    is marvin20 the same person as mattyleg? Just an educated guess?

  7. Habnormal says:

    @habitual not the Proce and Weber stuff but the fact that their core over the years has not been “tough”‘ also his analysis of how Max has picked up his hame latelu which is refreshing. Pleks Pacs and Markov all excellent players when they are at the top of their game but ina 6 game series against teams like LA or SJ, they would have been no match. Then again, they have the Bruins a few beatings over the years. I’m not speaking for him but I the point is the Habs have never been particularly bruising or difficult to oaky against for many years now. And it starts with the core. Weber is new so he gets a pass and Price has had some not-so-great playoffs. I think if they get in this year, Price will step up but the others, not so sure. You?

    • habitual says:

      Thanks for the nice response.

      Me? Sorry to sound like I’m riding on someone else’s thoughts, but I agree with those who say Price will take them as far as he can in the playoffs. And that is likely no further than past the first round. The team still doesn’t have enough scoring and is still too thin on D. We’re one injured D from leaking.

      It is tough to be good 82 games a season. Max is the norm when he tails off for a few games. Earlier, in a fit of insanity, I said we should trade him. Turned out he was playing injured. Doh!

      The toughness part? Toughness now means hard on the walls and clean checks, not dropping gloves. I think Ott and King give sandpaper to the bottom six; Martinsen is big and can skate but he isn’t gritty. And the bottom six only make a difference if a team is at the tipping point.

      I keep editing this after posting … one more thing about cojones or toughness. Some of the Habs were playing games with the flu. I can’t imagine how hard that must be and how tough one must be to gut it out while puking between periods.

    • on2ndthought says:

      It helps if the toughness is spread through the lineup, and if there is more than one player is able to bring it. Parros, Laraque couldn’t do it on their own, and Prust was not a match for the toughest players. Murray and Scott weren’t really hockey players.

      Now we have: Weber, Beaulieu, King, Ott, Shaw, Benn as well as Emelin, Gallagher, Martinsen. Ottawa also has a lot of grit, and our skill guys have always found their grinding style tough to play against. Now we’ll see if MB’s plan to get them a little more room on the ice is successful.

      • habitual says:

        Agreed. Bringing in the new bottom 6 forwards means that other skill players can move up. We don’t have to see Byron constantly picking himself up in the corners, having to play the other team’s 3rd line.

  8. Habnormal says:

    How many D can theyprotect for the expansion draft? I would be disappointed if Markov does not finish his career as a Ha but they can’t protect him either

    • ColdComfort says:

      Three. If they take the 7-3-1 option. Markov is a UFA. If he wants to go to LV or anywhere else he can unless he signs a contract before the expansion draft which would be crazy unless I misunderstand something. LV gets to talk to a UFA before other teams. He’s a Montrealer now. It’s his home.

  9. Glace half full says:

    So, is there a consensus on Sergachev’s readiness to be with the team next year?

    Surely changes the calculation vis a vis the rest of the D corps. Pair him with Markov, for example, and maybe it’s Weber and Beaulieu as the no. 1 pairing?

  10. Habnormal says:

    Chelios24 has perfectly summed up this team and how and why they have only been able (at times) to have regular season success and not to the next level of some of the elite teams. I agree entirely. I would love for them to finally take it to the next level this year but odds are that won’t happen. Pleks and Markov are well past their prime.

  11. habs001 says:

    Pretty well set that the winner of the division will play the Rangers…Columbus has now tied Washington for first

  12. HabinBurlington says:

    Like the lineup tonight, good mix of speed and abrasion. Would be great to watch Habs set the tempo of game.

    Nate has his opportunity to show why he should be in lineup.

    • marvin20 says:

      It should be a statement game… I’m interested how our weak little Habs who can’t score match up against this Ottawa power house

    • SteverenO says:

      @HABSinBurlington; I guess you have not been reading my posts:

      Beaulieu ALREADY SHOWN why he should be in the lineup -:
      Here’s a summary of what I call the Beaulieu effect:

      With Pacioretty on the ice together WITH Beaulieu:
      303 minutes – the team has scored 20 goals and allowed 11 GA
      AVG= 15 Mins per GF and 27.5 mins per GA

      With Pacioretty on the ice WITHOUT Beaulieu:
      711 minutes- the team has scored 26 goals and allowed 26 goals
      AVG = 27 mins per GF & 27 mins per GA

      With Gallagher on the ice together WITH Beaulieu:
      181 minutes – the team has scored 10 goals and allowed 6 GA
      AVG= 18 Mins per GF and 30 mins per GA

      With Gallagher on the ice WITHOUT Beaulieu:
      459 minutes- the team has scored 13 goals and allowed 14 goals
      AVG = 35 mins per GF & 32 mins per GA

      Do you think that Paciioretty and Gallagher need Beaulieu to prove why he should be in the lineup?

      Now lets look at Beaulieu on the SPECIAL TEAMS:

      PowerPlay: 5 vs 4

      There are 99 defensemen in the NHL that have played more than 50 minutes with his team going 5 versus 4. In terms of minutes of ice time per PP goal scored Beaulieu ranks 9th from the top. The HABS have scored one PP Goal every 6.75 minutes when Beaulieu is on the PP unit.

      Markov ranks 57th, The Habs have scored one PP goal every 10 minutes when Markov is on the ice:

      Weber ranks 46th: When big #6 is on the ice the HABS powerplay has clicked once every 9.15 minutes

      Interesting to note that when both Weber and Beaulieu have been on the ice together on the PP unit the HABS have scored 11 PP goals in only 50:22 minutes…a stellar average of one PP goal every 4.5 minutes….

      Who was the ace reporter that asked Beaulieu if he learned something from the press box watching Weber and Markov crapping the bed on the PowerPlay?

      SHORTHANDED 4 vs 5 :

      there are a total of 144 defensemen in the NHL that have played mpore than 50 minutes in a 4 on 5 situation this season:

      Ranked from 1 to 144 in minutes of ice time per PowerPlay goal allowed Beaulieu ranks 7th with 4 Goals allowed in 68 minutes an average of one GA oer 17 minutes of ice time.

      the next best ion the Habs, ranking 55th, is Jeff Petry (Beaulieu’s usual partner on the PK unit) with one PP GA every 10.5 minutes.

      For comparison ‘s sake Emelin ranks 130th (out of 144) with one goal allowed every 6.5 minutes when he is out there.

      And newcomer Jordie Benn ranks 142nd (out of 144 with one goal allowed every 5.5 minutes while playing 4 versus 5 (mostly with Dallas) this season,

      So, do you think that Beaulieu could have learned something from watching these two guys killing penalties while he was on the sidelines?

      I very much doubt it.


      Steve O.

  13. Danno says:

    I want McCarron and Martinsen with Ott – not Mitchell and King.


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    • powdered toastman says:

      Egg Ree – I could be wrong but I have King as playing more games than the other 2. (Ott with 5 games, King with 6 games and Martinsen with 3 games).

      At this point, I would be inclined to sit King possibly to give him a bit of a jolt in terms of accepting the fact that, yes, he has been traded, and that perhaps he should consider embracing the new team and it’s system (if he hopes to continue in his career).

    • aroma says:

      I’m with the Toastman (hey, do you remember Sven Hoek?). King revealed his distaste for playing with the Habs soon after his arrival. Staple his butt to the pressbox chair. Mitchell…. hey, time to give bigger bodies that can’t score either a chance to at least lay out some hits and screen the goalie.

      • NoTinFoilCups says:

        Well, he’s UFA, playing for a contract next season. You’d figure that would be motivation enough for a guy to give some extra effort regardless of any distaste.

        • aroma says:

          one would, but his better judgement is perhaps being clouded by his emotional reaction to being traded, or being traded to a Canadian team, or to Montreal specifically. He looks like he’s going through the motions, UFA status notwithstanding.

  14. 25soonenough says:

    Emelin is not a Julien style player. My guess is he will be unloaded or bought out at draft time. Make room for Sergachev, Juulsen, Davidson.

    –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

  15. Chelios24 says:

    I think unfortunately it all boils down to the fact that too big a component of the Habs leadership group lacks the cojones, consistent strong effort and physical/emotional passion to win the Cup. I’m talking about Plekanec, Markov and Pacioretty (who I grant you has noticeably picked up his game in the 2nd half and seems more like an NHL Captain should be). Price may be a bit of a diva as well. Weber needs to show he can play tough and physical this weekend. Show some leadership! The NHL playoffs are not for the faint of heart. Habs don’t have the skill to overcome a lack of serious physical effort and commitment to winning. King not being mentally involved and Petry being passive and inconsistent don’t help either. Too many players who won’t bust it every night to win

    • marvin20 says:

      yet some how they are fighting for first in their division, and 8th in points overall. You make it sound like they are out of the playoffs. sigh 🙁

      • Lapointe says:

        Marvin the good of all you mention was due to a very strong start. The past 35 games or so the team has a very poor record. The coaching change can’t hurt us but the team still doesn’t show much ability to score and the soft play is built right in to the roster. Some on here don’t recognize the need to have tough physical payers along with the skill but it is obvious that this team is not going to win the cup barring a miracle. However miracles do happen I guess. The Petrys on this team that avoid contact and still play inconsistently will be our downfall. Some say Nate is tough but he has all of 3 fights in 4 years and lost 2 of them. He doesn’t stick his nose in much this past year since Foligno I think it was almost KO’s him. NO this teaem really needs some grit that so far at least it hasn’t shown. Even with the recent infusion of players they seem passive as a team.

      • Chelios24 says:

        I’m talking about winning the Cup, not early regular season success or being 8th in overall regular season points.

  16. ColdComfort says:

    I like how Claude is moving guys in and out of the line up. Therrien would scratch a guy for twenty games. If you acquire depth then use it as he says. Keeps guys on their toes too. If a veteran like Emelin can be scratched then no-one is immune from watching from the stands.

    • durocher says:

      (cough, Plekanec, cough)

    • MustardTiger1337 says:

      Who was the last guy that MT scratch for 20 games?

      • Habs4LifeInTO says:

        Greg Pateryn for one..

        24 cups and counting….

        • marvin20 says:

          How is he doing in Dallas? How many games has he been scratched?

          • ColdComfort says:

            I’m not being critical of Therrien. Didn’t see much need to fire him. Just like Julien’s method, in this case, better. Always two sides, at least two, to such things.

          • marvin20 says:

            MT’s time was up last year, every coach has shelf life and a expiry date. He took a lot of heat while he was here but he did very well with what he had to work with

        • MustardTiger1337 says:

          Greg Pateryn?
          That’s all you got?

          Yea your right MT was horrible

          • Habs4LifeInTO says:

            For the record I agree with Marvin 20…Therrien managed to get quite a lot out of the cards he was dealt. That said, I am of the opinion that once Therrien decided a player was not to his liking, there was no way that player was getting ice time. In my view he was stubborn that way. A guy like Pateryn is a good example of this. Pateryn has the potential to be a good 5/6/7 D. So maybe not worth arguing over sure. Maybe this is more about PK vs Therrien? Look who won that confrontation? That might be more costly. Also Price vs Therrien? Again…maybe more at stake there as well. After all is sadi and done I thought Therrien’s record speaks for itself but it was time for him to move on. That’s it; now bring on the Sens and Go Habs Go!

            24 cups and counting….

  17. chilli says:

    King was drafted by the Kings and lived in Manhattan Beach with his family.
    To be traded for a 4th in 2018 if pretty devastating.
    And right into a Siberian snowstorm.
    They are giving him ice to find his game as he’s better than he’s shown.

    • durocher says:

      At what point do the Habs say, okay you’ve had enough time to get back on track? The answer could be ‘as much time as you need,’ as in the case of Pleks. I don’t mean to be critical of King, as I am/was happy he’s on the club. I only mean to suggest that 1) for his own benefit he could use some time to collect himself and process the huge change, and 2) Martinsen played well enough the first game for me to want to see more of him.

      Frankly, I’d rather see Pleks sit, but we know that won’t happen. It’s a numbers game, as Nate unfortunately realized.

    • Chelios24 says:

      that’s nice and all but he needs to wake up and try now!!

    • MustardTiger1337 says:

      pretty devastating


      Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

    • UKRAINIANhab says:

      In what world is he worth more than a fourth.

      • chilli says:

        In no world. But when you get traded to Siberia for a non skater, it sucks.

        Very few players want to come to Montreal. I know that’s hard to grasp.

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      This is professional sports Mr. King. Get you head out of it and get it together or you could acquire a reputation and play yourself right out of the league. Suck it up, butter cup.

      It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain

  18. ColdComfort says:

    A neighbor of mine, who is a Flyer’s fan, recently snagged Ron Hextall’s autograph. As a joke he asked him if the team needs to get bigger like the Montreal Canadiens.

  19. durocher says:

    King apparently was devastated to be traded, and he’s not playing like his head is in the game. He hasn’t had one good game with the Habs yet. Let him mentally adjust, in the stands.

    Martinsen, by contrast, had an outstanding first game with the Habs, and the fourth line with him, Ott, and Mitchell was the best 4th line I’ve seen the Habs field in a long, long time.

    I understand that King has the Cups, but the fact is he simply hasn’t played well.

    • marvin20 says:

      I thought he has been an effective penalty killer. I guess that’s not important 🙁

    • habitual says:

      Firstly, King hasn’t played poorly. People are getting suckered by Cowen’s referencing his being – 3. Secondly, while we need to stop throwing stones and bottles at our own players, Martinsen had a terrific first game before he fell back to the indifferent form that saw him as mostly out of the line up in Colorado, – a terrible team. Ott has and will be a steady, abrasive agitator.

  20. pals1969 says:

    As much as I hate the Sens, You have to love there scouting dept. They look for a mix of talent, speed and toughness. They have it, on all four lines. It’s probably not enough to match the elite teams, but having Erik Karlsson leading the defense puts them in a much better position than our habs going forward.
    Habs scouting, and trading PK really changed our course. We don’t really have options now, with the direction of coaching, we basically have to play a 80s style boring game and hope to hang in with Price, hope that our plumbers and pipe fitters shoot one in, off somebody’s ass for the win.

    Can the Habs skate and play as physical, as the Sens, for 2 games, or will they shrivel up by the end of the second period tonight.
    The last 5 years we just run out of gas, and desire from being pummeled on every scrum and in every corner.
    (smaller and Fast team.) (What kind of team are we now.)

    Sens are a lot better than people think, they are well balanced, can play any style, Boucher, makes adjustments very well, has them playing defence, and is blessed with Karlsson and excellent goal-tending in Anderson.
    Can we meet the challenge. We would need our new arrivals to take a step forward.

    Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be.
    Mario Lemieux.

    • on2ndthought says:

      “hope that our plumbers and pipe fitters shoot one in, off somebody’s ass for the win.”
      Montreal GF 191
      Ottawa GF 184
      The grass is always greener…

      I agree the Sens are a good team, put together with duct tape and baling wire around Karlsson and Anderson. Their management made some really bonehead moves from the time they were real contenders. Chara, Hossa, Spezza, Fischer, Heatly, Eaves, Bonk. Pretty sure time will tell they lost the Zibanejad and Silfverberg trades as well.

    • kalevine says:

      I notice that, while the Habs have tended to shrivel as often as not as the season goes on (at least 3 years out of the last 5), the Sens seem to start slowly and strengthen down the stretch. But, without looking it up, my impression is that they seem to fizzle in the playoffs much like the Habs

  21. Timo says:

    Is the microfracture boy playing tonight?

  22. Timo says:


    When Timo’s first Habs always never lose some time

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